Hot Best Seller

Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women's Liberation in the Syrian Kurdistan

Availability: Ready to download

Given the widespread violence and suffering in Syria, it's not unreasonable that outsiders look at the situation as unrelentingly awful. And while the reality of the devastation is undeniable, there is  reason for hope in at least one small pocket of the nation: the cantons of Rojava in Syrian Kurdistan, where in the wake of war people are quietly building one of the most Given the widespread violence and suffering in Syria, it's not unreasonable that outsiders look at the situation as unrelentingly awful. And while the reality of the devastation is undeniable, there is  reason for hope in at least one small pocket of the nation: the cantons of Rojava in Syrian Kurdistan, where in the wake of war people are quietly building one of the most progressive societies in the world today. Revolution in Rojava tells the story of Rojava's groundbreaking experiment in what they call democratic confederalism, a communally organized democracy that is fiercely anti-capitalist and committed to female equality, while rejecting reactionary nationalist ideologies. Rooted in the ideas of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, the system is built on effective gender quotas, bottom-up democratic structures, far-sighted ecological policies, and a powerful militancy that has allowed the region to keep ISIS at bay. This first full-length study of democratic developments in Rojava tells an extraordinary and powerfully hopeful story of a little-known battle for true freedom in dark times.  


Compare

Given the widespread violence and suffering in Syria, it's not unreasonable that outsiders look at the situation as unrelentingly awful. And while the reality of the devastation is undeniable, there is  reason for hope in at least one small pocket of the nation: the cantons of Rojava in Syrian Kurdistan, where in the wake of war people are quietly building one of the most Given the widespread violence and suffering in Syria, it's not unreasonable that outsiders look at the situation as unrelentingly awful. And while the reality of the devastation is undeniable, there is  reason for hope in at least one small pocket of the nation: the cantons of Rojava in Syrian Kurdistan, where in the wake of war people are quietly building one of the most progressive societies in the world today. Revolution in Rojava tells the story of Rojava's groundbreaking experiment in what they call democratic confederalism, a communally organized democracy that is fiercely anti-capitalist and committed to female equality, while rejecting reactionary nationalist ideologies. Rooted in the ideas of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, the system is built on effective gender quotas, bottom-up democratic structures, far-sighted ecological policies, and a powerful militancy that has allowed the region to keep ISIS at bay. This first full-length study of democratic developments in Rojava tells an extraordinary and powerfully hopeful story of a little-known battle for true freedom in dark times.  

30 review for Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women's Liberation in the Syrian Kurdistan

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    The only more important thing going on this world than the Revolution in Rojava is the ecological crisis. The world, and especially the international left, ignores this at their own peril. An absolutely fascinating book on contemporary history (mostly focused on the years 2011-2016) on a topic that is being wildly ignored by most media because they simply lack the language, and the knowledge to even understand what's going on there. The idea that democracy might take a form other than the pervert The only more important thing going on this world than the Revolution in Rojava is the ecological crisis. The world, and especially the international left, ignores this at their own peril. An absolutely fascinating book on contemporary history (mostly focused on the years 2011-2016) on a topic that is being wildly ignored by most media because they simply lack the language, and the knowledge to even understand what's going on there. The idea that democracy might take a form other than the perverted, western notion of "liberal electoral republic" is utterly incomprehensible to most people, and it is exactly these people that should read this book. The very notion that a movement might reject the very notion of a state as it is now, that it might reject the way adjudication is done today, that it elevates women to a truly equitable place in society is alien to western liberals; even worse, to some western leftists. The situation in Syria is getting worse with every passing day, and I genuinely fear that this unique movement will be forgotten by history; and with it, any hope that humanity has for a better future.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Seanán Mac

    It offers an interesting overview of what is happening in Rojava, but as the author's write early on, they are implicitly and unreservedly biased which I think serves the importance of what is happening in Rojava poorly. First the good stuff, it gives a thorough overview of the recent history and the power structures that have been implemented in Rojava, covering much of the specific ins and outs. There is much that is good and praise worthy about what they are apparently attempting to do there ( It offers an interesting overview of what is happening in Rojava, but as the author's write early on, they are implicitly and unreservedly biased which I think serves the importance of what is happening in Rojava poorly. First the good stuff, it gives a thorough overview of the recent history and the power structures that have been implemented in Rojava, covering much of the specific ins and outs. There is much that is good and praise worthy about what they are apparently attempting to do there (see the way I have to use the term apparently, the overtly stated biases of the writers means you can't necessarily trust what is written and even the achievements are over blown, for example in one part of the book they talk about a clash between two different kind of taxi drivers, ones operating in the city and the outskirts and the clashes that occur over airport pick ups, eventually some accommodation is reached (there is a central hub set up) this is praised as a triumph of the system, yet I see nothing in this solution and the reaching of this solution that could have been done under any political system). It gives a very through overview of the system that has been put in place which on balance I think has many positives. So if you want a general overview from the point of view of the YPG then this book is for you. However the bad stuff is very grating, for example the term 'martyr' is used time and time again to refer to Kurdish fighters who were killed. Fuck your martyrdom. I'm sorry but human sacrifice can go die in a fire as far as I'm concerned, I don't care what your cause is. This isn't to say I don't think there are ideals and the likes worth dying for, but the term 'martyrdom' implies a fetishisation of death that I think is at odds with any truly liberating ideology. It is very repetitive in parts, I feel the same information could have been delivered in a volume half as thick if not less. The theory is extremely thin, class as an essentialist category is hand waved away without any deeper consideration. Plus we know the YPG aren't angels (they are after all in bed with the US, ergo Trump and the neo cons), I don't expect them to be, but I expect more than just mindless propaganda from what is essentially my side. We get a very negative image painted of Assad and the ridiculous notion that life is somehow better under a state of civil war than it was under him, I'm no apologist for Assad, I accept he's a brutal dictator, but the state of Syria under Assad was one of the few secularist states in the middle east and there was a certain quality of life under the regime that isn't accounted for in this book. These ideas are too important to be considered uncritically and I expect a bit better from my side. you end up with a tome that probably tells you a good deal of truth about the situation in Rojava, but at the same time everything has to be taken with a fairly hefty pinch of salt. This isn't the book that'll necessarily let you form your own opinion, which is a real shame. Three stars because on balance I want to believe what I read in this book, that a better world is possible, especially in a place which is currently one of the worst on earth and for a people who have been brutally oppressed over the centuries, but I'm probably being a bit generous here.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    Fantastic and extremely thorough account of the revolution that has taken place in Rojava 2011-now. Gives a good amount of historical and geographical context so you can understand what's going on and offers insight into nearly every part of life in Rojava under Democratic Autonomy. I'm a Marxist-Leninist, so I disagree with some of the characterizations of 'state socialism'. In fact the place in the world that most resembles Rojava's system of communal democracy is Cuba, supposedly a bureaucrat Fantastic and extremely thorough account of the revolution that has taken place in Rojava 2011-now. Gives a good amount of historical and geographical context so you can understand what's going on and offers insight into nearly every part of life in Rojava under Democratic Autonomy. I'm a Marxist-Leninist, so I disagree with some of the characterizations of 'state socialism'. In fact the place in the world that most resembles Rojava's system of communal democracy is Cuba, supposedly a bureaucratic or authoritarian regime. But otherwise just a fantastic fantastic book that every leftist here in Turtle Island should read. Solidarity to Rojava! Bijî Rojava, Bijî YPG/YPJ, Bijî TEV-DEM, Bijî MGRK!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    In Rojava, not one line will be drawn around any patch of soil on the basis of ethnicity, language, religion, or culture. A great resource on the revolution in Rojava, the new society that they're trying to build, and the challenges they face. It's insane to me that they're able to build a society more egalitarian and more democratic than ours, and in the middle of a war zone. Highlights: A popular joke in the Democratic Autonomy: (view spoiler)[“In this part of the world,” the familiar joke went, In Rojava, not one line will be drawn around any patch of soil on the basis of ethnicity, language, religion, or culture. A great resource on the revolution in Rojava, the new society that they're trying to build, and the challenges they face. It's insane to me that they're able to build a society more egalitarian and more democratic than ours, and in the middle of a war zone. Highlights: A popular joke in the Democratic Autonomy: (view spoiler)[“In this part of the world,” the familiar joke went, “to ask for your own state is basically to say ‘I demand the right to be tortured by secret police speaking my own language!’” (hide spoiler)] Women's militias and anti-capitalism, anti-statism (view spoiler)[When we asked about the origins of the women’s militias, we were often greeted by the same formulae. “Well, we’re anti-capitalist. One thing we think the twentieth century has shown us is that you can’t get rid of capitalism without getting rid of the state. And you can’t get rid of the state without eliminating patriarchy.” The implication: giving all women access to automatic weapons seems a fairly obvious place to start. (hide spoiler)] On the unlikelihood of armed feminist uprisings: (view spoiler)[If one had told almost anyone who wasn’t part of the Kurdish movement in 2010 that by 2015 there would be an armed feminist uprising demanding direct democracy across a significant swath of the Middle East, they would probably have thought you were insane. Yet there it is. (hide spoiler)] Öcalan and Gilgamesh: (view spoiler)[The decline of society, in this analysis, began with the fall of woman. The Epic of Gilgamesh presents male identity as a tool of hegemony. Masculinity becomes an ideology, a ruling ideology such that Gilgamesh sees women not as human beings but as objects that men can use for pleasure. At the same time, the epic separates the individual from a nature-based tribal society. It contrasts the patriarchal city-state culture with nature. The nature-man Enkidu is “urbanized,” using female sexuality and prostitution, and destroys individuals’ subsistence, rendering them dependent, and hence their freedom. Thus the Epic of Gilgamesh is a narrative of expulsion from, and forced abandonment of, villages. Other mythologies, such as the Babylonian Enuma Elish, define the emergence of the social status quo as a violent process of patriarchal self-empowerment. Together they correspond to an archeologically ascertainable ancient economy controlled by the state-temple with mass production and by the Sumerians’ statist model of domination. (hide spoiler)] Democratic Civilization: (view spoiler)[For Öcalan, the concept of “democratic civilization” is a permanent sub-tradition of resistance to statist civilization. It opens new possibilities beyond classical historical materialism. Indeed, it criticizes historical materialism as Euro- and androcentric for requiring colonized societies to develop an industrial proletariat; moreover, it is subject to ecological critique, as capitalist industrialization is not sustainable for this planet and its inhabitants.13 By contrast, the Kurdish freedom movement’s approach proposes to strengthen democratic civilization and develop a democratic modernity. The modernist ideology of Kemalism agrees with classical Marxism in regarding the Middle East as an underdeveloped region and disparages the Kurdish areas as “less advanced.” But if capitalism has not yet totally absorbed the social fabric of the Middle East, that is an advantage. The Kurdish areas in particular are not a feudal society that must be overcome by capitalism in order to reach socialism and communism. On the contrary, the Kurdish democratic approach regards it as positive that the Middle East has not yet been fully submerged by the alienation and atomization of capitalist modernity, since it means opportunities for development beyond modernist lines remain—that is, a different approach to tradition and society. So the area in which Kurds live now is a relatively fertile ground for development along nonmodernist lines. We thus have two traditions: the tradition of democratic civilization and the tradition of statist civilization, which in political and social terms we can express as “Democratic Modernity” and “Capitalist Modernity.” These traditions are classified according to their emancipatory content. Those that have established themselves by statism and patriarchy are to be criticized, while traditions of collectivity, that embrace the social role of women, that solve social conflicts through compromise, and that further the coexistence of diverse social singularities are to be strengthened. Power is not to be conquered; rather, an alternative is to be constructed at this historical moment.14 By connecting people to each other in councils and by empowering people through self-administration, the Kurdish approach resists Capitalist Modernity and the nation-state and constructs a practical alternative. (hide spoiler)] PKK against the patriarchy: (view spoiler)[According to PKK ideology, patriarchy, a system that justifies the exploitation of nature and society, can be overthrown only by creating a new society that rests on non-patriarchal principles of communality, ecological economy, and grass-roots democracy. (hide spoiler)] Orhan is in paradise: (view spoiler)[Traveling west from Serêkaniyê, our delegation wound through cornfields and villages until we reached Til Xenzir (Tall Khinzir), a fortified hill that the YPG and YPJ had recaptured from the jihadists a month earlier. It was the farthest west we could go; some 60 miles (96 kilometers) farther, beyond the sparsely populated Arab-settled strip, lay Kobanî. We climbed the hill, and from the top we could make out the jihadists’ positions in the suburbs of the small city of Mabruka and hear the sounds of mortar shells. Little more than a stone’s throw away, to the north, lay the Turkish border. Now that Til Xenzir is no longer under the control of the jihadists, tanks have been brought up to the Turkish border. At night, the hill is floodlit from Turkey, making it easier for the gangs to observe the movements of the YPG there. There is sporadic fighting. The commander at Til Xenzir pointed out a village, across the Turkish border, where the gangs’ black market takes place. There, under the eyes of the Turkish Army and the Turkish state, the jihadists openly sell the booty they have plundered from the villages of Rojava, everything from faucets to house doors. Whenever they occupy a village, they grab everything portable—even fuses, and cables ripped from the walls—and destroy the rest. They can cross the border into Turkey whenever they feel the need. Dozens of witnesses in the YPG and YPJ have seen it happen—just a few days before we were there, 22 trucks crossed over. Witnesses in North Kurdistan also report seeing wounded jihadists in the Turkish hospitals. Meanwhile Turkey has sent more than a thousand trucks into Syria, delivering weapons directly into the hands of IS and Al-Nusra. We repeatedly saw jihadist units in vehicles meet each other at the Turkish border and exchange things. On January 22, several Al-Nusra vehicles crossed the border into Rojava and killed two YPG fighters. The country they were crossing from, it should be pointed out, is a NATO state, some 30 miles (48 kilometers) distant from where German soldiers were stationed. Some fighters from the local YPJ battalions showed us knives that the jihadists had left behind. “They used them to slit the throats of dead YPG fighters,” Avesta, a YPJ commander, told us. “Among the dead were some Turks, and Some fighters from the local YPJ battalions showed us knives that the jihadists had left behind. “They used them to slit the throats of dead YPG fighters,” Avesta, a YPJ commander, told us. “Among the dead were some Turks, and one had a cell phone. We picked it up and called his home, and a Turkish voice answered, ‘Is this Orhan?’ We said, ‘Orhan is now in Paradise.’” (hide spoiler)] YPG/YPJ guerilla tactics: (view spoiler)[The YPG and YPJ are a typical guerrilla army: they attack quickly, then withdraw quickly. They concentrate their forces, then disperse to lay ambushes. But this tactic isn’t always useful on Rojava’s flat terrain. To protect villages and cities, they dig ditches with bulldozers, so they can shield themselves from mortar attacks and other heavy weapons. They install armor on buildings and farm machinery for use as military equipment. In urban warfare, they smash through interior walls in order to move through buildings safely. In Kobanî, the IS gangs had the advantage of being better equipped, while the defense forces had the advantage of local knowledge. But the YPG/YPJ’s decisive advantage is that they are defending their country and their families and share a common vision. The other side has some staunch fighters as well, but many are mercenaries, and most have little connection to the region or its inhabitants. When we attended a funeral for martyrs in Dêrîk, we met a fighter from Germany who had been trained as a sharpshooter. She told us the IS fighters are poorly trained and mostly inept. “They come to die,” she said. “They’re drugged with stimulants. In Cezaa, two hundred of us faced six hundred of them, but we beat them.” ... Still, areas liberated by the YPG/YPJ often find themselves between a hammer and an anvil. Thousands of miles of border must be defended, and the embargo is forcing people to emigrate. And while the jihadists fight with modern materiel and weapons, mostly seized from US-equipped groups, the weapons used by Rojava’s defense forces are ancient. The fighters have neither helmets nor bulletproof vests. “Give us, at long last, more weapons!” implored a YPG commander at Hol. “We are fighting with Kalashnikovs and machine guns against IS, with its heavy weapons and tanks.”44 As a result of this imbalance, Rojava’s casualties have been too high. As of the summer of 2016, an estimated 4,000 fighters have been killed. These deaths would not have occurred had the Western states, the Gulf monarchies, and Turkey not initially armed the most radical forces of the Syrian opposition, including the group now known as IS. Even today, in view of the attacks in Paris and Brussels and beyond, the United States and Europe continue indirectly, via their NATO partner Turkey, to support Islamist groups like Ahrar Al-Sham, which continually attacks Afrîn canton, and Jabhat Al-Nusra—forces that are ideologically and organizationally indistinguishable from IS.45 Even with ancient weapons, the YPG and YPJ continue to fight undaunted. They are defending not only their homes but their long-held dream of Democratic Autonomy. As the commander at Hol said, “We’re fighting for all of you!” Even with ancient weapons, the YPG and YPJ continue to fight undaunted. They are defending not only their homes but their long-held dream of Democratic Autonomy. As the commander at Hol said, “We’re fighting for all of you!”46 The world, including the United States and Europe, must recognize that in the Middle East there is simply no alternative to democratic self-government. (hide spoiler)] Peace Committees: (view spoiler)[The communes, at the level of the residential street, elect members of the peace committees [see 6.3]. At the level of the neighborhood or village community, the people’s council (comprising the communes’ delegates) chooses the peace committees. The upper levels in the council system have no peace committees. A peace committee consists of five to nine people, with a gender quota of 40 percent. Most members are not traditional magistrates, since they are elected democratically and with gender parity. But they usually have experience in mediating disputes. Most are over forty years old. Their procedures are not spelled out in detail. Rules and principles have developed in practice over the years and to some extent are transmitted verbally. Parallel women’s peace committees exist to guarantee that in cases of patriarchal violence, decisions are made free from patriarchal influence. Women were the driving force in creating these structures. A man who commits patriarchal violence against a woman can be sentenced to between six months and three years in prison or community service. Even if the woman retracts her complaint, the convicted person has to serve at least six months in prison. Other sanctions against those convicted of crimes may include a period of education, lasting until the trainers are convinced that the person has changed; work in a cooperative or public service; exclusion from the commune; social isolation—for some people the hardest of all; boycott, if the convicted person has a shop; temporary relocation to another neighborhood; and exclusion from some public rights. (hide spoiler)] The Asayîş (police who also fight to defend the cantons): (view spoiler)[The head of the Asayîş in Qamişlo, Heval Ahmed, described himself to us as a Communist, explaining that the force’s command structure is democratic, which means that each level chooses its commanders. Once a month, there is a big meeting where new commanders can be nominated and elected. Each unit consists of 30–45 people and is subdivided into smaller units, which elect their leaders as well. To address problems of aggressive behavior, the Asayîş have structures for systematic criticism and self-criticism. To prevent the emergence of hierarchy, the commanders regularly stand before their units and not only self-criticize but receive criticism from members. The Asayîş are a mixed-gender institution—as of May 2014, women made up about 30 percent of the force. But there are also separate women’s units, Asayîşa Jin, that intervene especially in cases of patriarchal violence and domestic abuse. The principle is that women can talk to other women more easily and openly. Some women would feel very inhibited, for example, about reporting a rape, or an episode of domestic violence, to mixed or all-male Asayîş members. They have far fewer inhibitions about talking to young women. Asayîşa Jin units are closely tied to the women’s councils. (hide spoiler)] Russia and America: (view spoiler)[Once Russia got involved in the Syrian war, some thought it necessary for Rojava to choose between it and the United States, but here too Rojava follows its own third path. In the practical battle against IS, it will not be exploited by foreign interests. As KCK chief Cemil Bayık told BBC Türkce, “We are on the side neither of Russia nor the United States … Whoever won’t accept us, we won’t accept them. No one can make a merely tactical alliance with the Kurds anymore. Those days are over. Whoever still says, ‘Let’s use the Kurds, they’re good warriors, let them fight and so achieve our economic and military interests’—that person is mistaken. The Kurds are not the same as yesterday. The Kurds have now taken their destiny into their own hands. Now whoever makes strategic ties with us can win.” (hide spoiler)] The meaning of Rojava for Western Leftists: (view spoiler)[Kamran Matin explains the meaning of Rojava for Western leftists: “Considering the malicious anti-leftist Turkish government’s open resistance, and the US-led coalition’s reluctance to stand with the YPG/ YPJ—which could be overcome only by the pressure of pro-Kurdish public opinion in Europe—the success of the Western Left in pressuring the US-led coalition to provide unconditional support for the defenders of Kobanî, with military-logistical aid, was actually an important tactical victory for the left’s overall anti-imperialist strategy … Therefore the Left should not, nor can it allow itself to, absolutely exclude Western military aid for the defenders of Kobanî. It should rather concentrate on the concrete conditions and circumstances of such support and on supporting the larger political project and movement for which Kobanî stands, and it should carefully examine the likely implications of the deployment of even such limited aid for a democratic, leftist project in the region that undermines the goals of these helpers.”6 (hide spoiler)] On International Solidarity: (view spoiler)[Whenever we asked activists in Rojava what the best form of solidarity would be, the most common answer we got was “Build a strong revolutionary movement in your own country.” That response caused us to reconsider the very concept of solidarity. In the history of the Western Left, solidarity has often amounted to a subject-object relationship, in which the “object” of solidarity is tied to the metropolises’ longings and needs for strong emancipatory movements. But this form of solidarity reproduces the colonial perspective on southern, traditionally nonindustrialized, and historically exploited countries. Metropolitan leftists sometimes see themselves as helping the “poor” in these regions—but the “help” they offer serves as a projection screen. Since expectations go unfulfilled, both sides of the solidarity exchange end up disappointed. This problem arose in most solidarity movements in the last decade. But solidarity, activists in Rojava say, means building solidarity movements together, movements that can learn from and support one another. The victory over IS at Kobanî was a victory of the Rojava project and thus would constitute a strong leftist alternative in an important region. The fight for Kobanî brought Rojava onto Western TV screens, and international solidarity grew rapidly. The willingness of Western governments to let Kobanî fall brought millions of people around the world into the streets and made non-intervention impossible. But for many, the question of greatest importance was not only state intervention but also defense of the revolution. Volunteers from Australia and Germany joined the battle against IS—some have fallen, some are still fighting, and others have started campaigns for Rojava’s reconstruction, for supplying medical aid, and for infrastructure projects. These people have come into the crosshairs of those who want to cut off Rojava from all support, as it did for the 34 young socialists killed by the bombing in Suruç, while they were preparing to build a house for orphans in Kobanî. This cruel attack, as well as the policy of embargo, showed that while it was possible to drop bombs on IS, it’s impossible to drop food and medicine into Kobanî. From the perspective of capitalist modernity, a revolutionary alternative in the Middle East would shock the ruling regimes and have unforeseeable consequences in Europe and the rest of the world. Not for nothing are the hegemonic powers, even the Ba’ath and Erdoğan regimes, despite their deep differences, united when it comes to preventing or annihilating the Rojava project. For leftists, solidarity with Rojava is not a question of benevolence but a necessity. At the moment, Rojava needs not only material support but also professionals of every kind. It needs doctors, engineers, lawyers, artisans, agricultural engineers, and people who are ready to work to build Democratic Autonomy. Interested people should first educate themselves about the political content that underlies the Rojava model. That could transform the current clamor into a long-term movement that advances radical democracy, gender liberation, environmental awareness, and a cooperative economy, mediated by Democratic Autonomy, and as an alternative to capitalist modernity. (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[The survival of its revolution is also the survival of hope for a free, communal life and a gender-liberated, ecological society. Those of us in an alienated society can look to Rojava in order to rethink life in our own societies and take heart. (hide spoiler)]

  5. 5 out of 5

    Yngve Skogstad

    This book leaves me emotionally conflicted: on the one hand guilty for not having taken the time to search beyond the articles on the military efforts of YPG/YPJ, and properly educate myself on the revolutionary changes occurring on a societal level in Rojava; while on the other hand weeping from joy having had confirmed the inherent goodness of humans and the potentiality of creating change from the bottom-up. I appreciated the authors going into detail with regards to how the system of democrat This book leaves me emotionally conflicted: on the one hand guilty for not having taken the time to search beyond the articles on the military efforts of YPG/YPJ, and properly educate myself on the revolutionary changes occurring on a societal level in Rojava; while on the other hand weeping from joy having had confirmed the inherent goodness of humans and the potentiality of creating change from the bottom-up. I appreciated the authors going into detail with regards to how the system of democratic autonomy actually works in practice. Reading Öcalan’s Democratic Confederalism it all seemed a little wishy-washy to me, but having it concretized helps a lot. I advise all leftists of an anarchist/“libertarian” bend lend/buy this book, it is the most inspiring thing I’ve read in a long time. As for how such a democratic revolution can take place in non-war-torn, advanced capitalist societies I am still far from sure of, but I think at least being concious of the models being employed in Rojava can be a good place to start the conversation.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    This was an absolutely essential book in understanding the movement in Rojava and the political situation in Syria. Couldn't recommend this book more! This was an absolutely essential book in understanding the movement in Rojava and the political situation in Syria. Couldn't recommend this book more!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Micah

    It's easy to be cynical and find faults on the Left, but the project of the Syrian Kurds (and associates in Northern Kurdistan) offers some hope. When the Arab Spring hit Syria, the PYD, building on long years of organizing and conflict, was able to instigate a social revolution, very much spearheaded by women, and declared Democratic Autonomy. Much of this book details the intricacies of the communes, people's councils, etc., that make up the MGRK (People's Council of West Kurdistan) system, an It's easy to be cynical and find faults on the Left, but the project of the Syrian Kurds (and associates in Northern Kurdistan) offers some hope. When the Arab Spring hit Syria, the PYD, building on long years of organizing and conflict, was able to instigate a social revolution, very much spearheaded by women, and declared Democratic Autonomy. Much of this book details the intricacies of the communes, people's councils, etc., that make up the MGRK (People's Council of West Kurdistan) system, and its connections with the DAAs (Democratic-Autonomous Administrations). An excellent overall picture is given for events up to mid-2016, although more detailed information on the composition of the economy would be valuable. The Middle East is an arena where all kinds of authoritarian powers struggle for supremacy. If a direct-democratic, ecological, feminist model can survive there maybe not all is lost for humanity.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Rojava is a democratic, autonomous region in Syrian Kurdistan aiming to build a society based on equality. They're multi-ethnic, multi-religious and actively fighting for women's liberation. These efforts could be utopian, were it not for the costly invasions by neighbors like Turkey and IS, and for the scarcity caused by ruthless international embargoes. Despite these struggles, Rojava keeps building this progressive society. This book does a fantastic job in explaining the what, why and how. It Rojava is a democratic, autonomous region in Syrian Kurdistan aiming to build a society based on equality. They're multi-ethnic, multi-religious and actively fighting for women's liberation. These efforts could be utopian, were it not for the costly invasions by neighbors like Turkey and IS, and for the scarcity caused by ruthless international embargoes. Despite these struggles, Rojava keeps building this progressive society. This book does a fantastic job in explaining the what, why and how. It gives a good overview for beginners, but also goes into details on specific topics like education, ecology, economics, and a lot more. Rojava is a fascinating project, and it would be a shame not to learn more about and from it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joma

    An excellent source, although there have been many developments since it's publication in 2015. I.E. it's now the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES). There are seven cantons instead of three. The bottom-up council system, particularly TEV-DEM (movement for democratic society) is different as well. Still a great introduction. I would recommend the research coming out of the Rojava Information Center (RIC) for on-the-ground updates. An excellent source, although there have been many developments since it's publication in 2015. I.E. it's now the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES). There are seven cantons instead of three. The bottom-up council system, particularly TEV-DEM (movement for democratic society) is different as well. Still a great introduction. I would recommend the research coming out of the Rojava Information Center (RIC) for on-the-ground updates.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marc Bedard Pelchat

    Rojova is a region in Norther Syria where people are trying to live what could be considered as one of the most advanced form of democracy where women have the same rights as men and local assemblies are always co-chaired by a man and a woman. Furthermore, It is a pluralistic society where people from different religions and background coexist in a peaceful manner. These are the people Western countries and Turkey called terrorists. Well, let me tell you: I would rather live with that kind of "t Rojova is a region in Norther Syria where people are trying to live what could be considered as one of the most advanced form of democracy where women have the same rights as men and local assemblies are always co-chaired by a man and a woman. Furthermore, It is a pluralistic society where people from different religions and background coexist in a peaceful manner. These are the people Western countries and Turkey called terrorists. Well, let me tell you: I would rather live with that kind of "terrorists" than the hypocritical 1% of the wealthiest who are gravely contributing to the turmoil happening in that part of the world for reason of oil and weaponry. Extremely courageous young women in Rojava are enrolled in female milicia (YPG) to fight against Daesh and other factions or countries such as Erdogan's Turkey which decided to annihilate them as Turkey also attempted to do with the Armenians in 1915, incapable of tolarating anyone who is not a "Turk". This book is well-researched and studied rendering on what is going on and constitutes an eye-opener compare to the daily blabla of the news media that never give the whole context of what is going on over there.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sam Johnson

    The Rojava Revolution might be the single bright spot in authentic, emancipatory politics since Catalonia in the 1930s. While the West is struggling to revive its social democratic platforms the Kurds of northern Syria have pursued libertarian socialist, ecologically minded, radical feminist policies under siege conditions. In reading "Revolution in Rojava" I felt it was important to tease out the lessons of their revolution and where else they may apply. Context remains key to understanding Roj The Rojava Revolution might be the single bright spot in authentic, emancipatory politics since Catalonia in the 1930s. While the West is struggling to revive its social democratic platforms the Kurds of northern Syria have pursued libertarian socialist, ecologically minded, radical feminist policies under siege conditions. In reading "Revolution in Rojava" I felt it was important to tease out the lessons of their revolution and where else they may apply. Context remains key to understanding Rojava - what forces allowed it to happen and what forces may snuff it out. Though I personally feel its lessons have poor transference to most other contexts, the people of Rojava provide a window into what the world could be free of reactionary forces. https://lostandfoundbookreview.wordpr...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    I'd heard very little about Rojava prior to this book. It's just not something you hear about in what we keep being told is a struggle between "The West" and Daesh/"ISIS". But right in the middle of a place torn apart by Western imperialism and domestic forces of reaction, there's a wonderful and radically new experiment in society forming on its own terms in Syrian Kurdistan: a stateless, decentralized, diverse society that views political liberation and female liberation as necessarily intertw I'd heard very little about Rojava prior to this book. It's just not something you hear about in what we keep being told is a struggle between "The West" and Daesh/"ISIS". But right in the middle of a place torn apart by Western imperialism and domestic forces of reaction, there's a wonderful and radically new experiment in society forming on its own terms in Syrian Kurdistan: a stateless, decentralized, diverse society that views political liberation and female liberation as necessarily intertwined. It's a fascinating read, and an important one for anyone looking for concrete examples of a hopeful political future. If Rojava survives, it will continue to have much to teach us.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Mishap

    Few people are aware of what is happening in this region, which is a shame. Who would have thought we could look to war-ravaged Syria for an example of people organizing a society based on citizen participation, gender equality, and anti-state principles? This is a thorough, outstanding look at the region, its history and current struggles, and the people attempting to build a just society in the face of the Syrian regime, Islamic State, Turkey's anti-Kurdish attitudes and actions, and an econom Few people are aware of what is happening in this region, which is a shame. Who would have thought we could look to war-ravaged Syria for an example of people organizing a society based on citizen participation, gender equality, and anti-state principles? This is a thorough, outstanding look at the region, its history and current struggles, and the people attempting to build a just society in the face of the Syrian regime, Islamic State, Turkey's anti-Kurdish attitudes and actions, and an economic embargo. Well worth your time.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Wow. One of the best / most inspiring non-fiction books I've read in a long time. They could have so easily phoned it in, since it's pretty much the only book (at least the only book I could find) that goes into this level of detail about the Rojava revolution, and yet they totally went all out in documenting 15 different "dimensions" of the revolution. I highly recommend for anyone, especially if you want to have your Western-media-induced stereotypes about social+political movements in the Mid Wow. One of the best / most inspiring non-fiction books I've read in a long time. They could have so easily phoned it in, since it's pretty much the only book (at least the only book I could find) that goes into this level of detail about the Rojava revolution, and yet they totally went all out in documenting 15 different "dimensions" of the revolution. I highly recommend for anyone, especially if you want to have your Western-media-induced stereotypes about social+political movements in the Middle East completely shattered.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Excellent breakdown of the political and military situation that dispelled the narrative that has been allowed to grow particularly about the YPJ. Fantastically researched and objective in analysis this book is a must read for anyone interested in the Kurdish struggle against ISIS and their Caliphate amorous fellow travellers or the Syrian civil war in general.

  16. 4 out of 5

    E

    Comprehensive dispassionate overview.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jacques Michel

    A very rigorous starting point to understand the autonomous and democratic project developing in Nortern Syria (West Kurdistan). Highly recommend for anyone interested in the topic!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ash Ponders

    Need to get up to speed on the syrian conflict? This will get you a good way there, with a solid dose of the underpinnings of the northern front.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Xpontimus

    An accessible and easy to follow guide into the history, values, struggles, celebrations, and way of life of Rojava.

  20. 5 out of 5

    C

    This book is enlightening and informative, but it is heavily biased in favour of the then-Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, now the Autonomous Areas of North and East Syria, known commonly as Rojava in Kurmanji. Bias is to be expected in any study, but here it goes a little beyond the expected and somewhat prejudices the actual arguments of the book. This remains one of the few studies to be based on actual fieldwork conducted in Syria, by an interdisciplinary team of researchers, and prov This book is enlightening and informative, but it is heavily biased in favour of the then-Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, now the Autonomous Areas of North and East Syria, known commonly as Rojava in Kurmanji. Bias is to be expected in any study, but here it goes a little beyond the expected and somewhat prejudices the actual arguments of the book. This remains one of the few studies to be based on actual fieldwork conducted in Syria, by an interdisciplinary team of researchers, and provides a good picture of the structures of the decentralised, confederalist system introduced by the PYD. For this reason alone it is worth the engagement, but there remain significant problems with the analysis and with the PYD-led project itself, as it currently stands: Firstly, both the authors and individuals associated with the PYD (and its wider political coalition TEV-DEM) significantly downplay the relevance of its structural roots in the PKK. Though the book acknowledges the role of the PKK in both founding the PYD and developing its democratic-confederalist project, the more distasteful roles the PKK has played in regional history goes un-noted. It is inappropriate to label the YPG, or indeed the PYD (or indeed, TEV-DEM) an ‘arm’ or ‘offshoot’ of the PKK. But it is also impossible to deny that without the PKK the federation would not exist. PKK affiliates (armed and political) provided logistical support to the early revolutionaries, and earlier councils models in Kurdish Turkey/Turkish Kurdistan inspired the Syrian council system as it is today. Further to this, the personality cult that seems to exist around PKK founder Abdullah Ocalan, only continues to alienate potential non-Kurdish constituents, and encourage critics who denounce the project as an ethnocentric ‘Kurdish cult’. Holding Ocalan in such high esteem also contradicts democratic confederalist rejection of hierarchy. The study also fails to deal seriously with any of the Human Rights accusations leveled at the federation. Centre to most scandals within the Federation, the Asayish (local police) are difficult to independently oversee and regulate during wartime. Their arbitrary arrests and lack of transparency provide fertile opportunity for criticism. Human Rights Watch notes multiple war crimes accusations made against them, and against some sections of the YPG/J (the armed militia loyal to the PYD). Another element of the federation, and indeed this study, that warrants ambivalence is the education system it advocates. The book focuses on the reclamation of ‘Kurdish’ education (the teaching of Kurdish culture, Kurdish language, hitherto banned in Syria) and brushes over the concerns raised by the Arab populations about perceived indifference towards their own cultures. To this end, more must be done to ensure the impartiality of the education system, and prevent it becoming too influenced by parents. In the west, at least, educational autonomy has proved dangerous as common narratives are allowed to creep into historical paradigms (we are taught what is commonly accepted, not what is necessarily true). Without a radical overhaul of the education system, it is easy to see this slipping into disarray. To me, and in spite (I believe?) one of the researchers being an economist, the book’s weakest point is in its assessment of the federation’s economy. What kind of centralised body will take shape in post-war Syria is yet to be seen, but it will undoubtedly need to develop a relationship with the Federation in order to secure effective resource distribution across the state. An area rich in oil, like Jazyra, again must co-ordinate with a centralised organisation in order to ensure the fair distribution of natural resources to as many civilians as possible. But any potential models for these developments aren't afforded consideration, and too much is left in the abstract. For its strengths, the book fails to really look deeply into how successful the system of governance is. Instead, its authors are too preoccupied with saying how wonderful everything is, without giving us a clue as to how the actual civilians view it. Save for some examples of economic co-operatives (TEV-DEM’s spin on kibbutz, I suppose), the book fails to paint a real portrait of life in the Federation’s cities, aside from its descriptions of the governing system. It also fails to look critically at the system, instead painting opposition with one broad stroke - as though it were one big anti-PYD conspiracy.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kriegslok

    Anyone who wants to know what Rojava is all about needs to read this book. The book is based on the authors visits to Rojava and their extensive research of all aspects of the new society which was then emerging even as the Islamic State was beaten back by the determination of of Kurdish fighters and their allies. As the introduction makes clear the Kurds have long been victims of persecution in their own land which has been stolen, plundered and divided by empires and despots for centuries. Kur Anyone who wants to know what Rojava is all about needs to read this book. The book is based on the authors visits to Rojava and their extensive research of all aspects of the new society which was then emerging even as the Islamic State was beaten back by the determination of of Kurdish fighters and their allies. As the introduction makes clear the Kurds have long been victims of persecution in their own land which has been stolen, plundered and divided by empires and despots for centuries. Kurdish lands and affairs have latterly been divided by the artificial state borders of the countries that emerged with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and it is within these borders that the Kurdish struggle continues today. Kurds have tried many approaches to their liberation, until now these have generally aimed to establish a distinctive Kurdish state. However, as this book describes, the Kurds have identified "the state" as part of their and the global problem. Taking inspiration from the work of Kurdish leader Mr Abdullah Ocalan (currently imprisoned in solitary confinement by the Turkish state) Kurds in Rojava today are experimenting with a post-state form of direct democracy (influenced by the work of political theorist Murray Bookchin) in which the top down structures of the state and nepotistic political party system that accompanies it are done away with, supplanting the need for a separate Kurdish state. Patriarchy and capitalist modernity are identified as the things holding people both effectively prisoner and preventing them from realising their full freedom and potential, "...commodification and assimilation wreak destruction on people, isolating them from one another and defining them as amorphous masses to be ruled under the tutelage of elites in nation-states". By strengthening civil society and empowering people to make their own decisions they become actors changing society from below. The community at grassroots level organises and appoints it representatives with dual male and female representation. The book examines the rise of communal organisation and how each sector of society, such as education, healthcare, defense, justice and so on are managed. Reading about this radical experiment also helps the reader to understand why despite their heroic and self-sacrificing defeat of the murderous genocidal Islamic State group, the Kurds have been abandoned and nation states and their organisations seem happy to allow a new wave of Islamist terror groups and their Turkish state backers to attack Rojava beginning a new wave of genocide. This assault by a NATO state risks wiping out the Democratic Federalist experiment which is perhaps just too much of a threat of a good example for any nation state to stomach and certainly for a state such as Turkey which grew out of genocide and a viscous racist nationalism which under Erdogan has acquired and Islamist tinge. As this book makes clear, the Kurds of Rojava by embracing an emancipatory, secular, anti-patriarchal, ecological society, could be seen to be embracing a very modern and liberating society of the sort allegedly desired by humanity but in doing so they are presenting a direct threat and challenge to global elites be they tin-pot dictators or liberal democracies. Whether Rojava survives the current assault against it remains to be seen, but it has presented humanity with a tool and system for a possible future beyond the present world system.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pete Dolack

    Surrounded on all sides by hostile forces intent on destroying them, in a part of the world that Western pundits claim can only be ruled by dictators, the Kurds of Syria are intent on creating a society more democratic than any found in North America or Europe. This is not simply a matter of creating institutions of direct and communal, as opposed to representative, democracy but, most importantly, democratizing the economy. In the words of the imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, “In self Surrounded on all sides by hostile forces intent on destroying them, in a part of the world that Western pundits claim can only be ruled by dictators, the Kurds of Syria are intent on creating a society more democratic than any found in North America or Europe. This is not simply a matter of creating institutions of direct and communal, as opposed to representative, democracy but, most importantly, democratizing the economy. In the words of the imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, “In self-government, an alternative economic system is necessary, one that augments the resources of society rather than exploiting them, and in that way satisfies the society’s multitude of needs.” Although the three authors make clear their sympathies for the Rojava revolution, their book is not hagiographic, but rather a serious analysis of a developing process. That authors who have a point of view are unable to write objectively, as some reviewers here claim, has no basis in fact, and Revolution in Rojava is frank in discussing problems and deficiencies. Rojava's basic units of political organization are councils and commissions. These constitute the building blocks of Rojava’s system of “democratic confederalism.” This is a system of self-governing, decentralized units in a system whereby people mange their affairs rather than ceding decision-making to government agencies. The economy in turn is based on cooperative enterprises. Cooperatives are required to be connected to the council system; independence is not allowed. Cooperatives work through the economics commissions to meet social needs. Much of this cooperative production is in agriculture or small shops but there are plans to create more industry to meet local needs. Thirty percent of all coop proceeds must be given to local self-government administrations. This is seen as a route to eliminating unemployment. The Kurds' development of economic and political democracy certainly faces long odds, as Rojava is surrounded by hostile governments, not least the Kurdish-hating Turkish government and the Assad regime of Syria that will inevitably turn its sights on the region when and if it defeats its other challengers in other parts of the country. Nonetheless, the book ends on an optimistic note, readapting Rosa Luxemburg’s famous phrase to declare the future is “communalism or barbarism.” Although brief discussions of Thomas Jefferson, Luxemburg and Gramsci (who was no opponent of the Bolsheviks) are poorly argued and their views misstated, this is at most a minor irritant in a work ably presenting the first comprehensive study of Rojava’s inspiring experiment in mass-participation democracy. Revolution in Rojava is an excellent introduction to a revolution that is not yet well known but should be.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Overall a fascinating look at a region undergoing a bonafide revolution, and one based not on seize-the-means statism but rather on council-led democratic confederalism/autonomy. It's worth the read for that story alone, especially given how little of this news reaches Westerners in traditional media. It gets somewhat repetitive in its extremely thorough breakdown of every part of Rojavan society, from basic political structure to security, education, economy, etc. The theme is generally the same Overall a fascinating look at a region undergoing a bonafide revolution, and one based not on seize-the-means statism but rather on council-led democratic confederalism/autonomy. It's worth the read for that story alone, especially given how little of this news reaches Westerners in traditional media. It gets somewhat repetitive in its extremely thorough breakdown of every part of Rojavan society, from basic political structure to security, education, economy, etc. The theme is generally the same, which is that it has been rough going getting started, but that the solidarity of the people have them on a democratic path to progress, and one that emphasizes an unprecedentedly major role for women. My main hesitation with the book is the faint odor of propaganda about it. There are only a couple specific instances that jump out -- it's more just a general omission or an obviously biased vantage. For example events are described from basically a straight Kurdish viewpoint, which raises the question at several points of how the other ethnic groups actually feel. In one striking passage in the Education chapter, they talk about Arabs and Syriacs protesting that schools are taught primarily in Kurdish, but then give no further discussion of the pros and cons, or how that tension is addressed (p.184). At another point, talking about female soldiers, they write (and I can't stress enough how verbatim this is), "How do men in the YPG react to it? We asked one female fighter." And her answer, that "They have to accept it," is as far as they go. Not only is this illogical, to ask one gender how the other feels, but it's also bad social science. You can't gain understanding of a topic from only sampling one person, especially when that person doesn't even answer the question you actually asked. My biggest concern is how they gloss over the Rojavan Kurds' relationship with the United States. It has long been argued among leftists that the entire Rojava project is just a front for the U.S. to destabilize Syria and the rest of the Middle East. It's undeniable that the CIA has been involved there, and the CIA doesn't engage in humanitarian projects, let alone democratic socialist revolutions. I won't say it's damning that the authors only address this in a few throwaway lines, but it certainly does nothing to dispel my suspicion that the book has a significant propaganda element. That said, I would still recommend this to intelligent people concerned about world affairs, or interested in revolutions in general. Even reading it with skepticism will educate you a lot on revolutionary theory and significant (dare I say "inspiring"?) current events that go woefully underreported. Not Bad Reviews @pointblaek

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

    This book is not about philosophy. It is a biased description of reality. It is neither a justification or an argument. It is simply a description. It is important that you know about it. I try to hold hope in my heart for Rojava. I also worry. *Revolution in Rojava* is a description of the founding of Rojava and the sociopolitical activity in the region that challenges and maintains it as an entity. Rojava is a democratic confederacy made of independent cantons of villages and cities in northern This book is not about philosophy. It is a biased description of reality. It is neither a justification or an argument. It is simply a description. It is important that you know about it. I try to hold hope in my heart for Rojava. I also worry. *Revolution in Rojava* is a description of the founding of Rojava and the sociopolitical activity in the region that challenges and maintains it as an entity. Rojava is a democratic confederacy made of independent cantons of villages and cities in northern Syria. The idea is that instead of a Kurdish ethnostate, what if radical democracy prevailed, such that everything was self-governing: communes, neighborhoods, villages, cities, cantons, all made of panels of citizens who discuss and, in the face of disagreement, vote, about nearly everything. And what if, as a fundamental part of the platform, 40% of all panels or groups are women. The book does not do much in the way of philosophical discussion of why this is the best setup for the region, though it does discuss how the diversity in the region makes this the most agreeable *for everyone*. It does not investigate why and how communalism or democratic confederacy is, say, better than liberal humanism. It does, at times, get sidetracked by the need to state what sounds like rehearsed philosophical declarations, but the arguments are few and far between. It does not discuss things *in terms of* liberal humanism, either: what of the individual who is unjustly accused? How do you prevent the spread of fads, of unjustified claims? How do you make sure there is no persecution against queer people, people out of social norms, or people who seek to change those norms? There’s no discussion at all of liberated sexuality or other individual-focused traits. There’s only the collective. Which is a little worrying for such a thorough description of a people and a time. I do wonder what mistakes the panels have made, what storm winds of the people’s imagination they’ve weathered, and how their composition helped or hindered truth and justice. This is why I say this book is biased. I hope Rojava succeeds. I try to maintain hope in my heart for them; the book asks that much of the reader, that you believe in their project, and their people, enough to maintain that hope in the face of the constant onslaught of Salafism and similarly imperial movements in the area, from all over. What’s happening in Syria is a proxy war between so many different groups with different agendas, fighting on behalf of this country one day, and another the next. Borders, alliances, discussions in the UN and NATO, all are meaningless on the ground and in the dirt. You should be paying attention.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jerome

    An excellent summary of the PPK's Democratic Federalist state of Rojava as it stood circa 2016. Knapp and company, while scholars of various disciplines, tend to paint a highly positive assessment of the political and cultural situation in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. This work is probably best assessed in contrast to Thomas Schmidinger's work; one gets the sense that Schmidinger's broadly comprehensive scholarship of the various factions in Syria (many of them hostile An excellent summary of the PPK's Democratic Federalist state of Rojava as it stood circa 2016. Knapp and company, while scholars of various disciplines, tend to paint a highly positive assessment of the political and cultural situation in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. This work is probably best assessed in contrast to Thomas Schmidinger's work; one gets the sense that Schmidinger's broadly comprehensive scholarship of the various factions in Syria (many of them hostile to the PPK and YPG) colors his views of the parties at work in Rojava. Knapp and company, by contrast, are directly reporting on their experiences in the region. The book covers the historical background, including the PPK leader Abdullah Ocalan's intellectual shift from Marxism to democratic confederalism (a bottom-up form of government inspired by the works of anarchist ecologist Murray Bookchin), with an emphasis on restoring a feminist voice to social and political life. But the bulk of the book is largely focused on how the locals in the region have set about making Ocalan's theoretical ideas a reality, through neighborhood councils, a multi-tiered approach to defense (this is all taking place in a warzone), as well as examining facets of healthcare, education, and the justice system. As I asserted above, it's difficult to take this work at face value, particularly when contrasting it with Rojava: Revolution, War, and the Future of Syria's Kurds. But when one considers the difficulty of creating what is envisioned as a multiethnic, nonsectarian, decentralized government under the best of conditions, much less in a warzone surrounded by hostile interests, readers should be willing to concede that ideals are not always perfectly put into practice. These works should be considered together (and for a more complete assessment, the podcast The Women's War by journalist Robert Evans, who visited the region in 2019, will give reader's a broader picture of the situations prior to the U.S. abandoning the Kurds in October, 2019).

  26. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    Great account of the history of the region and all aspects of the society that is being built, from the theory to the details of how it is structured from healthcare to economics to the justice system. It definitely helped to listen to some podcasts alongside reading it (shoutout to Robert Evans' Women's War) as there were a couple of references in it that I didn't recall seeing earlier in the book, but picked up from the podcast episodes. Hopefully this vitally important experiment can weather Great account of the history of the region and all aspects of the society that is being built, from the theory to the details of how it is structured from healthcare to economics to the justice system. It definitely helped to listen to some podcasts alongside reading it (shoutout to Robert Evans' Women's War) as there were a couple of references in it that I didn't recall seeing earlier in the book, but picked up from the podcast episodes. Hopefully this vitally important experiment can weather the storms.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Vinton

    I cannot stress how fascinating and excellent this book is. Of course take everything with a grain of salt,since I am sure the excitement and optimism of the authors does give us a rosier picture of Democratic Autonomy than it is in reality. However I can understand the optimism and hope because this political philosophy has so much potential. This book is well written and is accessible. I highly recommend this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Timotej Turk Dermastia

    This is a great overview of the internationally overlooked plight of the Syrian Kurds to establish a just and democratic society of all ethnicities living in the northern part of Syria amidst war, embargo, persecusion and lack of international support for this amazing and progressive project. The revolution has given power to women, minorities and ecological topics while ISIS and Turkish rockets were storming their towns and villages. A must read for every savvy internationalist and leftist

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gayla Bassham

    I wanted this to be more of a narrative of the Kurds, the Kurdish women in particular. Instead it is half-manifesto, half-gushing hagiography. It's impossible to believe that this account of the Kurdish movement isn't idealized; the zeal of the authors can be grating. And yet, it remains truly heart-breaking to read this 2015 book in 2019, knowing what comes after. I wanted this to be more of a narrative of the Kurds, the Kurdish women in particular. Instead it is half-manifesto, half-gushing hagiography. It's impossible to believe that this account of the Kurdish movement isn't idealized; the zeal of the authors can be grating. And yet, it remains truly heart-breaking to read this 2015 book in 2019, knowing what comes after.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lukas

    The Revolution lives in Rojava. This book is a must read for anyone interested in left wing politics and practical application of political theory. An honest and beautifully detailed description of the situation in the region, and their new type of democracy.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...